Making Good Magic Great with Tony Chang
December 21st, 2017
cards, illusions, magic, performance, theory, tony chang
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We’ve been trying to get Tony Chang on the podcast for a long time and it’s finally happened! Jonah and Tony spent some time together and NYC recently. But this is the first time we have had the chance to talk to him about his history. Tony first fell in love with magic when he saw a clown magician as a kid. He got curious and he went to the public library in Idaho, where he grew up, and found some books. They were incredibly discouraging. So he turned to some magic rooms on IRC in the early days of the internet. He ordered a Hank Lee book and read it repeatedly. His goal with magic is to create something incredible with imperfect means. You can create an illusion using blunt mechanics to achieve something impossible.
Tony has always worked at his magic to make it look perfect. He once spent nine months trying to figure out the push-off double lift. But he thinks that too many people work on improving on a popular move. That is far to limiting. You should always look at moves to learn the maneuver – so you know it’s possible. That’s the only thing you should be learning from someone else.
There was a point in Tony’s career when he would try to change a trick. Trying to brute-force his way to a trick. He had a very engineering perspective on learning new moves. Now, he tries to focus on coming up with a unique approach to his tricks. Achieving a really surreal effect is much more interesting to him.
There is a huge glut of new magic on the market. It’s really difficult to wade through the garbage. But Tony says you learn more about magic by picking out what is wrong. And it’s also about being a worker. You always want to be a student and you always want to keep working. That may be why magicians are so gullible for the latest and greatest trick.
Tony work’s as an editor of TV commercials and he thinks that job and magic have a lot in common. In ads you have to tell a story in 15 or 30 seconds. It relies on editing to achieve its effect.
What question do you want to ask our audience?
Why are there so many versions of the double-lift?
Who should we invite on the podcast?
What do you want to tell our audience?
Stop learning magic by buying the latest trick. Think about your magic seriously.
What was your favourite part of the episode?
Jonah liked the emphasis on making a trick as simple as possible.
Tyler enjoyed hearing that Tony started by learning to palm because he didn’t know it was hard.
Tony re-emphasized that it’s really important to continue learning.
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